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7. BMW 4 Series/i4


It’s the lower, wider, meaner, sleeker twin of the 3 Series, and one that polarises opinion like many of BMW’s designs these days. 

Like the 3 Series, the 4 Series offers a choice of mild-hybrid engines, including a 2.0-litre petrol (codename B48) in the 420i and 430i, and a 3.0-litre straight six in the M440i, which is good for 369bhp and 0-62mph in 4.1sec. You can also step up to the M4, which is as poised and directionally keen as you can imagine. No diesels are available: they were dropped from the running in March 2023.

The electric i4, meanwhile, comes in three flavours: eDrive35 (285 miles of range), eDrive40 (365 miles), and M50 (318 miles). The latter produces 542bhp and a 0-62mph time to rival most M cars. Even the cooking version, the 35, does the sprint in a Volkswagen Golf GTI-rivalling 6.6sec.

These powertrains complement a car with stiffened, greater handling poise than even the 3 Series, which is the best-handling executive car in its class. The car rises to the B-road challenge with all the composure but perhaps slightly less rearward playfulness than you might expect.

The cabin exudes a premium ambience, with just enough trinketry and knurling to differentiate it from the 3 Series. It’s also very comfortable over long distances, aided by a driving position that’s slightly lower than that of the 3 Series and an attention to ergonomics that makes it one of the very best interiors in its class.

It’s a bit of a shame that it lacks the visual grace of its predecessors. But while the front grille (now a victim of endless clichés related to Bugs Bunny) and squashed headlamps are a little harder to stomach, there’s no question that this car is as dynamically compelling as you would want. And then some.

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